You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

A new museum in Austin: It’s called the Blanton

Rehanging of the museum’s permanent collection rethinks art, individually and collectively


Highlights

By thoroughly rethinking its permanent collection, UT’s Blanton Museum of Art is recast anew.

New emphasis on engaging with each work of art part of the philosophy behind UT’s Blanton Museum of Art.

Stop. Look.

Now look closer.

That is what the Blanton Museum of Art urges you do after five years spent reimagining, planning and executing a complete rehang of the permanent collection at the 10-year-old University of Texas spot, beloved by locals, tourists and students alike.

Walking around the museum’s second floor in preparation for the official unveiling on Feb. 11 (gala) and Feb. 12 (general public), one notices that there is more art (almost twice as many pieces), a new emphasis on the collection’s strengths (works on paper, etc.), better routing (fewer pass-through corridors), a few rarely exhibited pieces (discovered in the vaults), more coherent groupings and explanations (in English and Spanish), completely new galleries (including ones dedicated to video, plus Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin American), strikingly colorful wall tinting (to set off the Old Master paintings), more art in public spaces (jazzing them up) and a new focus on engaging each work of art.

“We have a new museum in Austin,” proclaims Director Simone Wicha. “I wanted the Blanton’s experience to represent the personality we embody at the museum — energetic, smart, fun, friendly, curious, sophisticated and collaborative. My challenge to the team was for us to reconsider the museum in a way that was more visually arresting, more thought-provoking and nationally innovative.”

By rearranging the walls, openings and doors, the Blanton now almost forces the viewer to slow down.

“The old configuration showcased works in corridor style,” Wicha explains. “And the galleries were set up in a long loop. The museum has changed the architectural layout and design of our galleries to encourage more stopping to look at art.”

Although the visitor now progresses from one significant era to another in the American and Latin American galleries, the European painting, mostly from the Suida-Manning Collection — and confined to a particular time and geographic place — is no longer hung chronologically. Rather, it rolls out thematically, including a grand salon-style hanging that almost covers the walls of one gallery, instead of positioning the art exclusively at eye level. Luckily, this is how the artists originally intended it to be seen.

“The new team focused on identifying the very best works in the European collection, leading with the best works and identifying the stories that they were telling,” Wicha says. “The flip side of this is in Latin American and American; there was a lack of chronology in the old galleries.”

The extremely popular Cildo Meireles installation that spreads out a pool of bright pennies underneath hanging bones was cleaned and opened up to natural light.

What about the plaster casts of classical sculptures that were used for decades to teach art and culture? They’ve been moved downstairs to some educational, research and meeting rooms off the lobby, where they’ve been given better (meaning three-dimensional), even if less prominent, views.

Now all that remains is to see whether guests feel invited to return repeatedly to visit their old friends in the permanent collection.

“What the team has produced makes me endlessly proud,” Wicha says. “They have raised the museum to new heights, and there are so many ideas we still have planned for the future.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360

Celebrate home and garden and the last day of the rodeo
Celebrate home and garden and the last day of the rodeo

Event Rodeo Austin. It’s the last day to check out the rodeo, stock show, fair and more. See the rodeo finals as well as Kevin Fowler beginning at 7 p.m. 10 a.m. to midnight. $8 adults, $5 child ages 3-12, free 2 and younger. Rodeo, concert and carnival extra. 9100 Decker Lake Road. RodeoAustin.com Gardening Austin Home & Garden Show...
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” worth seeing at Bass Concert Hall
“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” worth seeing at Bass Concert Hall

“Beautiful,” the story of how Carole King went from a 16-year-old aspiring songwriter to the Grammy winning singer songwriter of the “Tapestry” album, truly is beautiful. In fact, it’s one of the best productions that has come through Bass Concert Hall and Broadway in Austin. This production did not suffer the sound problems...
Woody Harrelson doesn’t do justice to graphic novel in ‘Wilson’
Woody Harrelson doesn’t do justice to graphic novel in ‘Wilson’

Daniel Clowes is one of the great graphic novelists and jaundiced wits of our time, creator of fantastically bitter characters whose litanies of complaint and twisted avenues of philosophical inquiry would be tragic, or merely pathetic, if they weren’t also really funny. Clowes is like Anton Chekhov’s wiseacre American cousin. And, near-miraculously...
Kristen Stewart: ‘I’m much more comfortable being uncomfortable’
Kristen Stewart: ‘I’m much more comfortable being uncomfortable’

Don’t let the title fool you. In “Personal Shopper,” Kristen Stewart’s second outing with French auteur Olivier Assayas (“Clouds of Sils Maria”), the titular occupation refers only to the day job of Stewart’s character, Maureen, a tomboyish young woman who scoots around Paris on a moped picking up expensive...
Remembering J.A.M.O.N., godfather of the Austin house scene
Remembering J.A.M.O.N., godfather of the Austin house scene

Courtesy of John Wesley Horne. On March 6, Austin’s dance music scene was dealt a devastating blow when Jamon Jaleki Horne, a house DJ who dominated local clubs, spinning under the name J.
More Stories